Below: Maria Felix as Dona Barbara in the film of the same name (1943):
One of the best sources for a thumbnail sketch of the history of Latin America from the post-Independence struggle to the present is probably the Encyclopedia Britannica. For students who are interested in pursuing such a study in greater depth the books listed on the course information page– Chasteen, Williamson, Galleano– are very useful. Chasteen’s is a standard textbook now in its third edition and as such the most expensive of these three histories. Williamson’s, published by Penguin, probably contains more detail though its relationship to the matters discussed is also more conservative. Galleano’s text, The Open Veins of Latin America, is a classic of “committed” historiography written in a poetic mode– notably from a Latin American perspective. As a Uruguayan, Galleano was witness to one of the most destructive periods in Latin American history– the era of military dictatorships which throttled democracy during the late 60s through the late 90s. This is the book that Hugo Chavez gave to Barack Obama as a gift, though given the Obama administration’s foreign policies he seems not to have read it.